In The Garden I am scrolling through a selection of my removed/flagged posts from my Tumblr account after the website cracked down on ”explicit” content in December 2018. When Tumblr announced that there would be changes to their community guidelines and that any posts that violated their new community guidelines would be taken down, they gave users two weeks. I backed up the entirety of my Tumblr account, 10 years of content, within that two week window. In 2013, Tumblr was bought by Yahoo, what many see as the beginning of the decline for the platform. After the sale to Yahoo, the platform began introducing odd, clickbait ads to the feed, of which I have collected over the years. I intersperse them throughout the video to highlight the absurdity of these predatory advertisements amongst posts that were deemed “unsafe” that had to be removed. I overlay myself pulling weeds on top of this, a practice common in North American suburban, middle class homes, to get rid of any unwanted plants in the garden or lawn. Who decides what belongs where, what is safe, and what is ugly?
Wanna Know My Secret? overlays motivational language collected from Instagram on top of footage of myself going through bags of broken and used makeup products. The motivational quotes are heavily featured and used by women in Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) businesses, usually as a tactic to get people to sign up. The language is very empty, generic, urgent and predatory. For the footage, I was inspired by dumpster diving videos on YouTube, which follow someone around as they dive for and then show off (haul) what they got from the dumpster behind popular stores such as TJ Maxx, Ulta or Bath and Body Works. Employees at many stores that sell beauty products, particularly Ulta, are instructed to make a “soup” and intentionally destroy returned, unwanted products. The soup acts as a deterrent to keep dumpster divers from digging through the trash. I wanted to emulate this dumpster diving process and made an open call to have people send me their used, unwanted and expired makeup.
Molly Soda is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Nearly all of her work lives online, as she uses a variety of social media platforms to host her work, allowing the work to evolve and interact with the platforms themselves. Soda makes videos, installations, and web-based, interactive works that touch on concepts around performing the self, memory, aspiration, and consumer culture.